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Paulzx

High gain lead tones thin and fizzy

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Hi Guys,

I know there are no new questions on here exactly but this is quite specific. I've updated to 2.8, eager to try the new high gain amps, and I'm finding that none of them are that great out of the box. Using the old trick of putting a tube screamer pedal before the amp, adding a 4x13 V30 cab etc does transform a lot of these high gain amps into something pretty good in terms of a nice bassy chug chug saturated high gain rythm tone, but my issue is extracting a strong well rounded lead tone from that setup.

 

What i'm getting in the lead tones is a thin fizzy tone, i realise the high gain amps are normally set up with low mids and that is what makes it a bit fizzy on lead tones, what i want is a stronger less fizzy lead tone that punches through a little better, but can't seem to get anything out of the box so to speak, from the high gain amps.

 

I want a modern high gain sound, big sounding on lead, more mids to punch better, but obviously to retain the high gain break up. How are you guys doing it? Are you using one high gain amp for rythm and another amp for lead or getting both from the same amp setup?

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I don’t think it’s something that is unique to hi-gain.  It’s probably more noticeable the more you saturate the tone. When you are setting the EQ on your amp model to get your patch to sit nice at rhythm volume and then pump it up to lead volume it’s going to change.  All the frequencies that are making your rhythm cut through get exaggerated when you crank it for the solo.   I play mostly classic rock and whether I’m using a classic rock crunch or something a little more overdriven, if I’m using the bridge pickup i pretty much always have the tone control on my overdrive set somewhere between 0-3 for lead tones.  And I use an over drive even if i’m not adding much in in the way of gain just for that reason although I suppose you could use an eq block.  I just find it simpler to just turn one control down.

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Try lowering the amp’s bias x control.  In the manual:

 

“Bias X Determines how the power amp tubes' voicing reacts when pushed hard. Set low for a tighter feel. Set high for more tube compression. This parameter is highly reactive with the Drive and Master settings.”

 

When EVH changed to the Peavey amps in the early 90’s... his tone was much more saturated and sounded very compressed.  That was my thought when I first tried a real 5150.  Same thing with JSX.

 

Try lowering the amps drive (preamp gain) and upping the master volume (power tube gain).... then lower the bias X.  Try the whowatt cab or the 2x12 silver bell.  I also like using the U67 mic.  Cuts like a dynamic, but has some low end like a ribbon.

 

Sean Meredith-Jones

www.seanmeredithjones.com


    

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Thanks for the suggestions, I'll try those. I guess I was hoping that I would find a nice high gain amp model without much tweaking and be able to use it for everything but it seems these amp models sound pretty good playing power chords but too thin and fizzy on single string notes. Winding the drive back may help like has been mentioned.

More tinkering to be done then i think

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42 minutes ago, Paulzx said:

I guess I was hoping that I would find a nice high gain amp model without much tweaking...

 

Let me save you the suspense...you could live 3 lifetimes and never find this. For anything...high gain, low gain, crystal clean, slightly dirty...jazz, funk, blues, djent, or old school metal. Tweaking is inevitable.

 

And if you do stumble on "ideal" default settings someday, it'll just be dumb luck...

 

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There's so many things missing in your description it's not surprising your not getting the results you want.  You didn't tell us what kind of output system you're using, or how you mic'd the V30 cab (mic types, placements) which all make an enormous difference in how your patch sounds and responds.  Since you didn't specify I can only assume you don't think those things matter that much.

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On 8/4/2019 at 8:34 AM, Paulzx said:

What i'm getting in the lead tones is a thin fizzy tone, i realise the high gain amps are normally set up with low mids and that is what makes it a bit fizzy on lead tones ....

 

FWIW.... low mids are not the cause of "thin fizzy tone"... high mids maybe, but not low mids. 

 

On 8/4/2019 at 3:58 PM, Paulzx said:

it seems these amp models sound pretty good playing power chords but too thin and fizzy on single string notes. 

 

I can visualize this problem immediately... it's not the models, it how they are dialed in. Those mid scooped chug sounds are wimpy thin buzz saws when attempting to play a lead. You need to reduce the scoop, especially when striking out to do a solo. 

 

That's nothing more than a general approach... without knowing how you monitor yourself it's nearly impossible to provide specific suggestions. 

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There are so many variables to contend with as DD said you are not saying how you are setting this up are you going into a Daw or PA, FHFH, etc the mike placement I tend to use a ribbon mikes and pulled back a bit but that's just me everyone is different. One tip I picked up from watching Richie Castellano on a facebook video recently is his parametric eq after the amp/speaker which to me make the amp sound more natural to my ears settings below:-

Low freq  230Hz

Low Q  0.7

Low Gain  1.6Db

Mid Freq 4 Khz

Mid Q 0.7

Mid Gain -3.1Db

High freq 8 Khz

High Q 0.7

High gain +2.1 Db

Low cut off

High cut 8.9 Khz

Level  0

 

He got this by recording his Helix into a Daw and using the parametric plugin in the daw and then transferred these settings to the Helix I guess if you use a daw you could do the same. What he has done is upped the lows a bit and cut around 4 Khz where the fizz is. I have come to the conclusion after many years listening to guitar tone and music that everyone hears things differently, in other words, each person's ears is not a biological constant and what one mans great tone is another's torture. 

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27 minutes ago, BigBob-Irwin said:

everyone hears things differently, in other words, each person's ears is not a biological constant and what one mans great tone is another's torture. 

 

 

Quote of the month award!

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The fact is, if you can't get it right following someone else's instructions for EQ or anything else because:

 

1)  Everyone is playing different guitars with different tonal characteristics.

 

2) Everyone is using a wide range of output devices, in a variety of settings with different band members and instruments.

 

3)  Rarely will a single tone work for all your songs unless you're a big star and known for a specific sound...which you aren't, or we would have heard of you.

4)  Personal technique is likely a big part of the tone you may be chasing, and unless you perfectly emulate the person's technique the sound you're chasing will always be out of your reach.

 

And there's probably many more reasons.  If you've been playing for any fairly extended period of time you should know that you can't just "buy" your way to great tone with a Helix, Fractal, or Kemper or any amp or set of pedals.  You first have to develop a good ear and then match that with the skills required for your personal setup to get something that works for you.  The biggest missing link in all of this is the skills and abilities of the human playing the guitar.  Regardless of what the popular sentiment is, you can't "buy" your way around that limitation.  You either invest in developing your ear and your skills, or just learn to live with the tone you're able to cobble together.

 

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So to address some of the above, it's a helix floor straight in to a pair of flat response speakers. Yes I have various professional standard guitars, the issue is the same. I know about all the possible variables etc etc but it's not about that. It is simply about some good high gain tones that sound nice in a power chord sense but not so much in a lead sense.

On the patches I'm trying I'm just adding a single amp, putting the master up to max, selecting a 4x12 v30 cab, mic would usually be a 57 or 421

 

It's not true that it's impossible or luck, to get a tone from stock settings that will do everything - it might be on the Helix but it certainly wasn't on the Vetta2 I had and it isn't on the Roland street cube I've got. They were very simple to select a generic type sound and be pretty happy with it. The Helix, probably because of it's immense variety, isn't as easy in this particular regard.

 

It may be that the adding an EQ into the patch solves this as already mentioned, I haven't had time to try it yet.

Which of the high gain amps do you guys think lends itself more to a modern heavy distortion tone? I'll probably try from there. I'm not thinking doom metal boomy bass low mids type of sound, think brighter more versatile high gain that any typical hard rock band could use. 

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56 minutes ago, Paulzx said:

So to address some of the above, it's a helix floor straight in to a pair of flat response speakers. Yes I have various professional standard guitars, the issue is the same. I know about all the possible variables etc etc but it's not about that. It is simply about some good high gain tones that sound nice in a power chord sense but not so much in a lead sense.

On the patches I'm trying I'm just adding a single amp, putting the master up to max, selecting a 4x12 v30 cab, mic would usually be a 57 or 421

 

It's not true that it's impossible or luck, to get a tone from stock settings that will do everything - it might be on the Helix but it certainly wasn't on the Vetta2 I had and it isn't on the Roland street cube I've got. They were very simple to select a generic type sound and be pretty happy with it. The Helix, probably because of it's immense variety, isn't as easy in this particular regard.

 

It may be that the adding an EQ into the patch solves this as already mentioned, I haven't had time to try it yet.

Which of the high gain amps do you guys think lends itself more to a modern heavy distortion tone? I'll probably try from there. I'm not thinking doom metal boomy bass low mids type of sound, think brighter more versatile high gain that any typical hard rock band could use. 

 

To address some of the things discussed:

 

"Lots of mids" isn't *always* the answer; sometimes you just need to make the mid cut less severe or more "focused" (use the Q parameter in the parametric EQ).  Everyone talks about how Metallica "found" the mids for the Black Album, but there's still a fair amount of mid-scooping; it's just that they changed the frequency and amount of the mid-cut so it didn't sound so extreme.

 

You absolutely should use at least 1 EQ block whenever trying to dial in a metal tone.  Using the amp without EQ might work for lower gain or much more "traditional rock" types of sounds, but once that gain is pumping, you are dealing with so many frequency factors heightened by the gain, that you'll need something to emphasize or de-emphasize certain frequency bands.  Don't be afraid of using the "Q" parameter (sometimes you'll want to zone in on eliminating or boosting a very specific frequency without affecting nearby ones), and don't be afraid to use more than one EQ block.

 

One microphone model that really helps bring out some bright yet well-bodied dynamics is the 112 Dynamic.  Give it a shot.  In addition to that, I'd really suggest using the "dual cab" block if you're not using an IR.  It gives you a much wider spectrum of control.  You could have the same cabinet doubled, but with different mics for each one to get a broader sound.  And make sure the volume level is decently set on them.

 

Not sure if I'm the one to advise on "modern" metal (my metal tastes are more old-school/power/80s aggressive melodic metal), but the Archetype Lead gives a good defined sound.  The new Revv model is good as well, as well as the "Epic" Line 6 model.  In fact, there's quite a few that will give a ballsy sound if you EQ it right.  If all else fails, you could try the old "Tubescreamer/overdrive model with low gain/high volume in front of the amp" trick to tighten things up, set it as on by default when paired w/ the high gain amp, and set one of the switches to bump the gain up a bit for the lead parts...........

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2 hours ago, Paulzx said:

It's not true that it's impossible or luck, to get a tone from stock settings that will do everything - it might be on the Helix but it certainly wasn't on the Vetta2 I had and it isn't on the Roland street cube I've got.

 

 

Don't know anything about the Street cube... but there's really no useful way to compare the Vetta to the Helix. They're entirely different animals. Yes, the Vetta  had amp modeling, but it was pumping through a pair of Celestions, making it a super-fancy 2x12 guitar amp, but a guitar amp nonetheless. We carried them at the music store I taught at back in the day...I used to keep one in my little studio for lessons. Getting a usable sound just by turning it on was par for the course. That's just not gonna happen with something like Helix paired with studio monitors, or any other type of FRFR output...they just ain't the same thing. Now if you were to use only Helix preamp models without cab sims, and run into the FX return of a 2x12 combo, your fizzy high end issues would vanish thanks to the frequency response of speakers that are voiced specifically for guitar.

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Just a quick tip that works for me. Try an amp model that has a “fat” or “thick” control. Set up a snapshot to turn it on when you want your lead tone. The Placater Dirty and Texas Cali CH 2 are good examples. This approach works well if you are happy with your rhythm tones, but feel like the lead tones are a bit thin. It works nicely in conjunction with a master volume boost. 

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15 hours ago, Paulzx said:

So to address some of the above, it's a helix floor straight in to a pair of flat response speakers. Yes I have various professional standard guitars, the issue is the same. I know about all the possible variables etc etc but it's not about that. It is simply about some good high gain tones that sound nice in a power chord sense but not so much in a lead sense.

On the patches I'm trying I'm just adding a single amp, putting the master up to max, selecting a 4x12 v30 cab, mic would usually be a 57 or 421

 

It's not true that it's impossible or luck, to get a tone from stock settings that will do everything - it might be on the Helix but it certainly wasn't on the Vetta2 I had and it isn't on the Roland street cube I've got. They were very simple to select a generic type sound and be pretty happy with it. The Helix, probably because of it's immense variety, isn't as easy in this particular regard.

 

It may be that the adding an EQ into the patch solves this as already mentioned, I haven't had time to try it yet.

Which of the high gain amps do you guys think lends itself more to a modern heavy distortion tone? I'll probably try from there. I'm not thinking doom metal boomy bass low mids type of sound, think brighter more versatile high gain that any typical hard rock band could use. 

 

As cruisinon2 points out above, there's a world of difference between an integrated amp setup and a component setup with a modeler separate from the output which is far more like what you would experience in a studio or professional concert setup.  There are just more things that you get control over that you can't control on an integrated amp.

For example, from your description it's not clear what kind of amp you're using which can make a lot of difference in your overall tone, but I'm assuming you're using one of the several different high gain amps either from the Marshall family or one of the others.  There's nothing wrong with the selection of the 4x12 V30 cab, the question becomes how do you want to translate that sound because even on an integrated amp, if you place microphones on it to send to the FOH or to a DAW, your mic choice, and especially their placement, is going to be critical in how your sound comes out.  Just like on any integrated amp and cabinet, your sound will vary to your own ears as you move off-axis from the center of the speaker cabinet.  With microphones it's that much more variance based on not only what mic you use (all of which have different tonal characteristics) but where they are placed relative to the cap or cone edge.  This is one of the reasons you'll find a lot of people such as Jason Sadites using dual cabs so he can combine microphones such as a dynamic like the 421 and a ribbon like a 121 at different locations and mix to get a better overall fuller tone.  This is the most natural way to get a good tone which can then be tweaked to taste with slight adjustments to the EQ as you would in the studio.

 

The next component you have to be concerned about which is a given in an integrated amp setup is your FRFR, but FRFR can mean a lot of different things to different people ranging from a FRFR cabinet, to studio monitors, to a PA style speaker, all of which also can have tonal implications.  For example, studio monitors tend to require fairly precise arrangement between where the speakers are placed and where the listener sits to get a good overall feel for the tone, whereas PA style speakers such as a Yamaha or QSC speaker will pretty much sound the same within a very wide horizontal range if the speaker is placed upright on a pole, but a very narrow range if placed in a floor monitor position.  Additionally if placed on the floor there will usually be problems with what's called "bass coupling" which is the low frequencies building up due to the proximity of the speaker with the floor.  Some FRFR PA style speakers provide DSP contouring controls that allow you to adjust the speaker based on the placement of the speaker and what it's being used for.

Clearly it's much easier and simpler to account for most of these things with an integrated amp, but you then lose the opportunity to precisely manage the components for your use.  If managing all of these things isn't something you want to be burdened with then maybe you'd be better of with a simple integrated amp.  I personally use the Helix and a Yamaha DXR12 for my stage sound, but I also have well over 200 presets to precisely control my sound for each song.  However, the rhythm guitar player in my band wants a very simple, pre-adjusted sound that doesn't require much thought or adjustment, so he uses a Spider V with about 4 different sounds dialed in and he's a happy camper.

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Would it possible to provide an example of the lead tone you're looking for? A lot of these descriptors will mean different things to different people. Depending on the amp "cranking the master" might not help the situation, and using a boost for leads is different than using a boost for rhythms. In my case a rhythm boost is set to attenuate low end and pump the input, whereas a lead boost will have more low end information, as well as pumping the input and the high-end a little bit. A TS boost setup with the lows attenuated and the output pushed will make chords, low-strings cleaner, but will take away a lot of the lower overtones (undertones?) that come along with single string/lead stuff. 

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First. 

GO find an amp model that you like the gain structure on. 

now turn every dial on it over and over again, just experiment with it until you get a feel for how each dial works.  Now start to dial it in.  

you really need to know and understand the model you are using as the dials and paramenters are key here.  They models these amps as closely as possible and no 2 amps (even if the same model sound the same and react the same way)  Yes they have traits, but Twins don't exsist in the amp world really. 

Know your stuff. 

 

I use the epic amp model for almost all of my "modern" sounding stuff and its a model that does not get a lot of love due to it being a L6 original but its an absolute beast for rythm and lead tone.   Alot of chiggy players love on the bedonk which is good too. 

BTW both of these models ARE modded Mesa amps.  

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30 minutes ago, rucmas said:

I use the epic amp model for almost all of my "modern" sounding stuff and its a model that does not get a lot of love due to it being a L6 original but its an absolute beast for rythm and lead tone.   Alot of chiggy players love on the bedonk which is good too. 

BTW both of these models ARE modded Mesa amps.  

Elektrik is a good one, too, like a beefier 5150. The Uberschall is so low/low-mid heavy that even with a boost it's still easy to make it boomy. For single-note stuff, especially higher up the neck, an EQ before the amp with a boost in the 300-800Hz range (depending on amp, guitar, tuning, etc) can make those lines sound more vocal and broader, but it will be muddy for rhythms.

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20 hours ago, Paulzx said:

So to address some of the above, it's a helix floor straight in to a pair of flat response speakers. Yes I have various professional standard guitars, the issue is the same. I know about all the possible variables etc etc but it's not about that. It is simply about some good high gain tones that sound nice in a power chord sense but not so much in a lead sense.

On the patches I'm trying I'm just adding a single amp, putting the master up to max, selecting a 4x12 v30 cab, mic would usually be a 57 or 421

 

Have you tried simply engaging the cab block low and high cuts? Start at 8kHz high cut and 100kHz low cut with an amp you like. If you crank the power stage (master vol) of most high gain amps, they can sound a bit nasty until you get the high end cuts in place.

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20 hours ago, JimGordon said:

 

To address some of the things discussed:

 

"Lots of mids" isn't *always* the answer; sometimes you just need to make the mid cut less severe or more "focused" (use the Q parameter in the parametric EQ).  Everyone talks about how Metallica "found" the mids for the Black Album, but there's still a fair amount of mid-scooping; it's just that they changed the frequency and amount of the mid-cut so it didn't sound so extreme.

 

You absolutely should use at least 1 EQ block whenever trying to dial in a metal tone.  Using the amp without EQ might work for lower gain or much more "traditional rock" types of sounds, but once that gain is pumping, you are dealing with so many frequency factors heightened by the gain, that you'll need something to emphasize or de-emphasize certain frequency bands.  Don't be afraid of using the "Q" parameter (sometimes you'll want to zone in on eliminating or boosting a very specific frequency without affecting nearby ones), and don't be afraid to use more than one EQ block.

 

One microphone model that really helps bring out some bright yet well-bodied dynamics is the 112 Dynamic.  Give it a shot.  In addition to that, I'd really suggest using the "dual cab" block if you're not using an IR.  It gives you a much wider spectrum of control.  You could have the same cabinet doubled, but with different mics for each one to get a broader sound.  And make sure the volume level is decently set on them.

 

Not sure if I'm the one to advise on "modern" metal (my metal tastes are more old-school/power/80s aggressive melodic metal), but the Archetype Lead gives a good defined sound.  The new Revv model is good as well, as well as the "Epic" Line 6 model.  In fact, there's quite a few that will give a ballsy sound if you EQ it right.  If all else fails, you could try the old "Tubescreamer/overdrive model with low gain/high volume in front of the amp" trick to tighten things up, set it as on by default when paired w/ the high gain amp, and set one of the switches to bump the gain up a bit for the lead parts...........

 

Thanks for this, I like the idea of all of those points. I think I've confused the issue by saying modern high gain sound. I'm also an old school 80's rock & metal fan and what I really had in my mind for the sound I want, is when you see those iconic bands play or record now, they don't sound like they did on those 80's records, of course they have updated their sound to what I'm calling modern high gain, as in modern equipment high gain. I didn't really mean newer younger bands necessarily.

 

For example take Whitesnake, a band I have seen live recently. Two very good guitar players who don't really try to sound like the records, they're just using modern gear that sounds good right now, so it's a more modern sound if you like. A band like that will have crushing distortion tones and the for solo parts the tone is massive and well rounded and punches through. That's the bit i'm struggling on. I can get great distortion tones for chords but using the same amp i'm getting weedy fizzy lead tones!

 

Does that make more sense?

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19 hours ago, cruisinon2 said:

 

Don't know anything about the Street cube... but there's really no useful way to compare the Vetta to the Helix. They're entirely different animals. Yes, the Vetta  had amp modeling, but it was pumping through a pair of Celestions, making it a super-fancy 2x12 guitar amp, but a guitar amp nonetheless. We carried them at the music store I taught at back in the day...I used to keep one in my little studio for lessons. Getting a usable sound just by turning it on was par for the course. That's just not gonna happen with something like Helix paired with studio monitors, or any other type of FRFR output...they just ain't the same thing. Now if you were to use only Helix preamp models without cab sims, and run into the FX return of a 2x12 combo, your fizzy high end issues would vanish thanks to the frequency response of speakers that are voiced specifically for guitar.

Interesting.. but means swapping speakers for an amp, which i don't really want to do, although I do have a DT50 for sale which I've still got. I did have a go at running the helix through that but it wasn't very successful at the time. I may not have had helix set up as just pre-amp though

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4 hours ago, gunpointmetal said:

Would it possible to provide an example of the lead tone you're looking for? A lot of these descriptors will mean different things to different people. Depending on the amp "cranking the master" might not help the situation, and using a boost for leads is different than using a boost for rhythms. In my case a rhythm boost is set to attenuate low end and pump the input, whereas a lead boost will have more low end information, as well as pumping the input and the high-end a little bit. A TS boost setup with the lows attenuated and the output pushed will make chords, low-strings cleaner, but will take away a lot of the lower overtones (undertones?) that come along with single string/lead stuff. 

Yeah i just thought that so gave a better description of the type of sound, see my Whitesnake reference in one of the other replies.

That would be relevant for any of the big 80's rock bands that play live now, most of those types of bands all have a big sounding lead tones as well as the required high gain rythm etc

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3 hours ago, rucmas said:

First. 

GO find an amp model that you like the gain structure on. 

now turn every dial on it over and over again, just experiment with it until you get a feel for how each dial works.  Now start to dial it in.  

you really need to know and understand the model you are using as the dials and paramenters are key here.  They models these amps as closely as possible and no 2 amps (even if the same model sound the same and react the same way)  Yes they have traits, but Twins don't exsist in the amp world really. 

Know your stuff. 

 

I use the epic amp model for almost all of my "modern" sounding stuff and its a model that does not get a lot of love due to it being a L6 original but its an absolute beast for rythm and lead tone.   Alot of chiggy players love on the bedonk which is good too. 

BTW both of these models ARE modded Mesa amps.  

I hear what you're saying.. I like the Line 6 amps but i do find them a touch too bassy and boomy where I prefer a tighter higher mids punchier high gain.

Maybe the problem is that i'm not EQing these models, i'm just switching from one to the next hoping to find something that sounds good for everything.

So that will be my next thing to try. I have to confess I didn't really want to spend a lot of time dialling stuff and eq-ing, i was hoping to just find a straight forward tight high gain rythm amp and a similar lead tone even if it was from a different amp altogether. I swear i've spent more time dialling the helix than actually playing it!

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1 hour ago, BBD_123 said:

 

Have you tried simply engaging the cab block low and high cuts? Start at 8kHz high cut and 100kHz low cut with an amp you like. If you crank the power stage (master vol) of most high gain amps, they can sound a bit nasty until you get the high end cuts in place.

No i haven't, i've just got some global eq high and low cuts on. Will have to look at this too

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16 minutes ago, Paulzx said:

No i haven't, i've just got some global eq high and low cuts on. Will have to look at this too

 

For now, I'd recommend turning global EQ off and working up the simplest patch - amp block, cab block and maybe a reverb block at the end. Nothing more. Set the cab block low and high cut as suggested (as starting points) and dial the amp's tone stack in to your preference. Tweak the cab block high / low cuts as necessary. It's a good idea to try to keep close to unity gain within the Helix - so your empty patch - pure dry signal - shouldn't be significantly quieter than your actual patch. Use the amp block Channel Vol to get this about right.

 

The fewer variables in play at the beginning, the easier it is to dial in a core tone that you like. Once you've got something basic but solid, then you can experiment with sag and bias on the amp, and maybe some more precise EQ with the Parametric block after the cab, or with something like the Teemah dialled for clean boost in front of the amp.

 

After about a year with Helix floor, I deleted pretty much everything I'd done from my patch library and started over, as described here. The results were better.

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1 hour ago, Paulzx said:

I swear i've spent more time dialling the helix than actually playing it!

 

It's always that way at the beginning with this kind of gear... but it doesn't last forever. Half the battle is finding what combinations of amps/cabs/mics work best for you. I won't even get into 3rd party IR's... that's a rabbit hole unto itself. You could do a PhD thesis on those things, and never actually play again, lol.

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I doubt that any of those guys is using the exact same settings for rhythm and lead sounds. Most likely either channel switching, amp switching, or some sort of EQ/Boost combination. A quick Google search suggests that Dough Aldritch is using a custom-made boost/distortion into various Marshall heads via amp switcher with a Marshall cab. Maybe try the 2004 Mod or the Friedman model with the Marshall cab, back the mic off a little bit to get a little less "buzz" in the tone, and try boosting it with either an EQ or a low-gain-setting distortion pedal. Like I said, though, I doubt those guys are using the same settings for lead and rhythm, if not switching amp heads/boost entirely.

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I have made some progress.. obviously each amp model has it's own basic characteristic which you can't completely change, but strangely, the single biggest effect I've found on the amp sounds, is moving the mic distance. That did make the high gain amps a lot more crisp and effectively cut the bass and upped the mids, without using any actual EQ effect yet or cutting any lows or highs.

 

The mic distance is my go to parameter now, if that helps anyone else out, plus i'm trying all the above suggestions on top, which is already getting me much better results.

 

Thanks for all the pointers guys 

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On ‎8‎/‎6‎/‎2019 at 1:55 PM, Paulzx said:

 

Thanks for this, I like the idea of all of those points. I think I've confused the issue by saying modern high gain sound. I'm also an old school 80's rock & metal fan and what I really had in my mind for the sound I want, is when you see those iconic bands play or record now, they don't sound like they did on those 80's records, of course they have updated their sound to what I'm calling modern high gain, as in modern equipment high gain. I didn't really mean newer younger bands necessarily.

 

For example take Whitesnake, a band I have seen live recently. Two very good guitar players who don't really try to sound like the records, they're just using modern gear that sounds good right now, so it's a more modern sound if you like. A band like that will have crushing distortion tones and the for solo parts the tone is massive and well rounded and punches through. That's the bit i'm struggling on. I can get great distortion tones for chords but using the same amp i'm getting weedy fizzy lead tones!

 

Does that make more sense?

Yeah, I think I know what you mean.  First, I'd get an idea of what the basic "character" of each model is.  The Mahadeva model is sharp and not so high gain, the Cali IV Lead has a distinct "midrange bark" with unrefined, "feral" distortion, the Cali Texas has a very "classic album rock but with more gain" type sound, the Solo Lead is sort of mushy/spongey but with good sustain, the Placater Dirty tends towards darker tones with a lot of gain, etc.etc.  One model you might want to consider for a very versatile high gain sound is the Archetype Lead- it's not too dark, too muddy, or too bright, but it can lean in any of those directions if you want to tweak it that way.  Another decent combination for old-school, more mainstream metal/hard rock is to combine the Solo Crunch with an overdrive set low in the gain.  Next up is familiarizing yourself with what each EQ bandwidth tends to affect.  250K cuts can cut a bit of the muddier side of bass, while a boost between 2K-3K can add a sizzly grind.

 

With enough tweaking, you can EQ different amp models to have some crossover.  Now in terms of the lead sound, you can assign a footswitch to boost a select mid-frequency with either graphic or parametric EQ; the latter's Q control will let you expand how much is boosted.  Or you can slap a simple OD/boost like the Kinky Boost or Top Secret OD in front of the amp, for a little bit more definition and gain......or you can do both, and assign the OD bypass AND the frequency boost to the same footswitch.

 

Hope this gives some more ideas.

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On 8/6/2019 at 1:55 PM, Paulzx said:

I'm also an old school 80's rock & metal fan and what I really had in my mind for the sound I want, is when you see those iconic bands play or record now, they don't sound like they did on those 80's records, of course they have updated their sound to what I'm calling modern high gain, as in modern equipment high gain. I didn't really mean newer younger bands necessarily.

 

They may use modern gear, but coming from the 80's they are not likely to abandon the tone from that era.... JCM800. That tone will be embedded in their mind, and they will dial in any modern amps in that direction. 

 

Keep in mind, these guys don't use the same tone for rhythms & leads.... they change it! You can't just set a rhythm and expect to use that for lead...

 

Here is what I suggest... (thinking Whitesnake since you mention them a few times)

  1. Setup a basic patch.... from scratch so you don't inherit other attempts to fix it
  2. Insert a JCM 800 or the 2204Mod
  3. Dial in a rhythm tone.... try different mics and distances as part of the eq process
  4. If you need/want a reverb or delay, go ahead and add it to sweeten the tone. IMO... this is best done AFTER getting a basic tone. 
  5. You should be able to get a great rhythm tone with nothing more added..... if you aren't, keep working on it. 
  6. Once you have a great rhythm tone... time to work on the lead... 
  7. Place a KLON or Tube Screamer in front of the amp.
  8. You do not need a lot of GAIN on the effect, certainly not more than half.. probably lower. Adjust the output level to be just slightly louder than when the pedal is off
  9. By default.... the KLON or TUBE SCREAMER is going to thicken the tone when you engage it, and make it a touch louder if setup as I suggested. This is perfect for leads.... it beefs up the tone and cuts through a mix. 
  10. To sweeten the lead tone more.... engage a delay (about 350ms) with a few repeats at the same time as the overdrive. Keep the mix fairly low... just enough to blend the notes smoothly.

Another trick used often by groups like this is a half cocked wah pedal for leads. Do a little research on that and try it out... but not until you get the basic tones up and running. 

 

You can try other amps.... but that era was JCM800 more times than not. I really suggest you START there! 

Same applies to the overdrives I suggested.

 

Good luck

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On 8/6/2019 at 2:55 PM, Paulzx said:

 

Thanks for this, I like the idea of all of those points. I think I've confused the issue by saying modern high gain sound. I'm also an old school 80's rock & metal fan and what I really had in my mind for the sound I want, is when you see those iconic bands play or record now, they don't sound like they did on those 80's records, of course they have updated their sound to what I'm calling modern high gain, as in modern equipment high gain. I didn't really mean newer younger bands necessarily.

 

For example take Whitesnake, a band I have seen live recently. Two very good guitar players who don't really try to sound like the records, they're just using modern gear that sounds good right now, so it's a more modern sound if you like. A band like that will have crushing distortion tones and the for solo parts the tone is massive and well rounded and punches through. That's the bit i'm struggling on. I can get great distortion tones for chords but using the same amp i'm getting weedy fizzy lead tones!

 

Does that make more sense?

By the way, are you getting all your gained up tones through amps alone?

 

I might be in the minority, but I still prefer amp/cab blocks for clean, mildly dirty/crunch and then one or two pedal blocks in front for higher gain/lead tones.

 

I find this way I don’t have to spend as much time eq’ing for high gain stuff.  I just pick the dirt pedal that is voiced the way I want.  I also find it easier to get the type of clipping I want with the pedals.  Sometimes more compressed, sometimes more open.

 

Sean Meredith-Jones

www.seanmeredithjones.com

 

 

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50 minutes ago, Smj7 said:

I might be in the minority, but I still prefer amp/cab blocks for clean, mildly dirty/crunch and then one or two pedal blocks in front for higher gain/lead tones.

 

I find this way I don’t have to spend as much time eq’ing for high gain stuff.  I just pick the dirt pedal that is voiced the way I want.  I also find it easier to get the type of clipping I want with the pedals.  Sometimes more compressed, sometimes more open.

 

Being a bit old school, I tend to take that approach: cranked Plexi for clean (guitar vol rolled back) and crunch (guitar vol full up) and step on an OD for lead tones.

 

This is paying off nicely right now with the new Tone Sovereign / KoT pedal in 2.8x ... Lots of tone control there to 'pre-EQ' the amp as well as add boost, crunch or OD. I'm having no trouble getting the full gamut of tones from fat blues to screaming rawk out of the Plexi 100 head. Okay, not the modern high gain amps Paulzx was specifically asking about, but tbh I'm not sure what I'd do with any more gain than I'm getting - from a Strat - into KoT then Plexi. There seems to be more than enough to go around :-)

 

 

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9 hours ago, codamedia said:

 

They may use modern gear, but coming from the 80's they are not likely to abandon the tone from that era.... JCM800. That tone will be embedded in their mind, and they will dial in any modern amps in that direction. 

 

Keep in mind, these guys don't use the same tone for rhythms & leads.... they change it! You can't just set a rhythm and expect to use that for lead...

 

Here is what I suggest... (thinking Whitesnake since you mention them a few times)

  1. Setup a basic patch.... from scratch so you don't inherit other attempts to fix it
  2. Insert a JCM 800 or the 2204Mod
  3. Dial in a rhythm tone.... try different mics and distances as part of the eq process
  4. If you need/want a reverb or delay, go ahead and add it to sweeten the tone. IMO... this is best done AFTER getting a basic tone. 
  5. You should be able to get a great rhythm tone with nothing more added..... if you aren't, keep working on it. 
  6. Once you have a great rhythm tone... time to work on the lead... 
  7. Place a KLON or Tube Screamer in front of the amp.
  8. You do not need a lot of GAIN on the effect, certainly not more than half.. probably lower. Adjust the output level to be just slightly louder than when the pedal is off
  9. By default.... the KLON or TUBE SCREAMER is going to thicken the tone when you engage it, and make it a touch louder if setup as I suggested. This is perfect for leads.... it beefs up the tone and cuts through a mix. 
  10. To sweeten the lead tone more.... engage a delay (about 350ms) with a few repeats at the same time as the overdrive. Keep the mix fairly low... just enough to blend the notes smoothly.

Another trick used often by groups like this is a half cocked wah pedal for leads. Do a little research on that and try it out... but not until you get the basic tones up and running. 

 

You can try other amps.... but that era was JCM800 more times than not. I really suggest you START there! 

Same applies to the overdrives I suggested.

 

Good luck

Yeah you're right about the JCM 800, I know a lot of the big hard rock bands always mention that amp. They do of course have loads of other things running with it which makes it hard to get near what they sound like, but I do agree it's a good amp to use for what i'm after. I like the list of how to put the sound together, I'm on it now!

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3 hours ago, Smj7 said:

By the way, are you getting all your gained up tones through amps alone?

 

I might be in the minority, but I still prefer amp/cab blocks for clean, mildly dirty/crunch and then one or two pedal blocks in front for higher gain/lead tones.

 

I find this way I don’t have to spend as much time eq’ing for high gain stuff.  I just pick the dirt pedal that is voiced the way I want.  I also find it easier to get the type of clipping I want with the pedals.  Sometimes more compressed, sometimes more open.

 

Sean Meredith-Jones

www.seanmeredithjones.com

 

 

I'm using a single amp block with a separate cab block for all my patches actually, always have done

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On 8/6/2019 at 2:55 PM, Paulzx said:

For example take Whitesnake, a band I have seen live recently. Two very good guitar players who don't really try to sound like the records, they're just using modern gear that sounds good right now, so it's a more modern sound if you like. A band like that will have crushing distortion tones and the for solo parts the tone is massive and well rounded and punches through. That's the bit i'm struggling on. I can get great distortion tones for chords but using the same amp i'm getting weedy fizzy lead tones!

 

Does that make more sense?

Ok, I went on YT and tried to find some rig rundowns for the Whitesnake band.  First of all, when you look at the long history of players in this band over the years... who HASN’T played in Whitesnake????

 

Joel Hoekstra is  predominantly using Les Pauls and some strats S/S/HB style guitars on the 2016 tour.  For amps... Friedman BE100.  He said he uses it for rhythm and lead tones.... so in Helix lingo... that would be the Placater Clean and dirty amp channels.  No external drive pedals mentioned...just wah and the Axefx II for delays and reverbs.

 

Reb Beach is using a bunch of Suhr strats S/S/HB.  He mentioned using a Custom Audio Amp/Cab.  He also is using Pete Thorn’s Suhr Head.  I’ve never tried those amps but guessing they lean on the Marshall side?

 

He does use an external OD pedal... the Suhr Shiba drive.

 

I’m using a Stomp right now... if I could, I’d experiment more with using a Placater clean/dirty amp setup.  Because the amp channels are separate blocks, they are bloody CPU hogs to have both in one chain.... so not much room left over for much else.  If you have the full Helix board, I think it’s no problem?

 

Sean Meredith-Jones 

www.seanmeredithjones.com 

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I've had success with adding a low gain Teemah after the amp. Unusual, but works.

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